Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Better Than Anything Cake

This is my favorite cake that my mom made when I was growing up, I never knew what it was called though. I've seen variations of this cake on some of my favorite cooking blogs and this is my favorite name for it. It's the perfect cake for summer. I made it a couple of weeks ago for my husband's birthday and it was a big hit with our whole family. It's really rich and super yummy. Well worth every calorie!

Better than Anything Cake


1 Chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to make it
1 jar (17 ounces) Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel ice cream topping
1 tub (12 ounces) Cool Whip, I used light
3 Heath candy bars, broken up






Bake the cake according to the directions, I only made a half because for our small family we didn't need a whole cake. Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes. Poke holes in the cake with a small spatula or wooden spoon handle. Pour the jar of ice cream topping over the cake and allow to chill for 4 hours or overnight. 


Spread cool whip on the cake and top with the crushed candy bars, I'm pretty sure you can just break the candy bars up with your fingers, but where's the fun or the stress relief in that?  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cookie Salad

It's that time of year, barbecue season. I've taken this salad to several barbecues and it's one that our kids request that I make. You won't find a better sweet salad recipe, we love it! I've seen several versions of it, but this is the one that I make. This time I played with some dark chocolate fudge striped cookies that I found at Target, but I didn't think they really added a whole lot, so next time I'll stick with the original fudge striped cookies. Plus it has fruit in it, so it's healthy!

Cookie Salad

2 small packages instant French Vanilla Pudding
3 cups buttermilk
1 container (12 ounces) Cool Whip, I use light
2 cans (20 ounce) crushed or chunk pineapple, drained
2 cans (11 ounce) mandarin oranges, drained
1 package fudge striped cookies, broken up

In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding, buttermilk and Cool Whip. Add the drained fruit. Just before serving stir in the cookies.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blondies

Hi, I know I've been a little bit absent for a while now. Sorry, things have been really busy at our house. This is a recipe that I've done before, but I wasn't completely happy with it. I got it from the Six Sisters Stuff cookbook, but I adapted it a little bit and the results were greasy. So, back to the drawing board I went. I took out quite a bit of butter and it was tons better. When I made it this time, I used some leftover Easter candy chopped up, and they were amazing. Can't wait to try it with Cinnamon Chips and White Chocolate!

Blondies
Adapted from Six Sisters Stuff

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup chopped Easter chocolate (or whatever you'd like to substitute!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. The recipe says to line the pan also with parchment paper. I did, but I think that's just to turn them out of the pan to cut them. If you're okay with cutting them in the pan, you can skip the parchment.

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Let the butter cool, you want it to be barely warm.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. I just stirred with a wooden spoon until it looked like they were no longer grainy. Next, stir in the egg, vanilla and salt with the wooden spoon. Lastly add the flour and chocolate until just blended.


Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle extra candy on the top if you want to. If you want the blondies to be slightly gooey then bake them for 25 minutes, or you can always bake for 30 minutes to have them be firmer. Let cool, I used the fridge for a couple of hours, then slice into squares.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meatloaf

Meatloaf wouldn't normally be in my top ten things to eat, but this meatloaf is really amazing. I love the way that the sauce goes both in the meatloaf and on the top to give it an amazing flavor I usually half the meatloaf part for our family and leave the sauce whole, because we love it. One of the best things about it is that it's pretty quick and easy to put together. For baking, I put it on a quarter sheet pan and shape it into a loaf, I usually line the pan with foil that I've sprayed with baking spray, it's just so much easier to clean and you get a lot more crust on the top, and everyone knows that the crust on the top is the best part!

Meatloaf
adapted from Lion House Classics

For the meatloaf:
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup panko crumbs
Meatloaf sauce





Mix the ground beef, salt, eggs, panko crumbs, and about half of the meatloaf sauce until well blended. Usually I would want to use my hands, but the sauce is hot, so be really careful. Mold on a quarter or half sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for two smaller loaves or 1 1/2 hours for 1 large loaf. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes before slicing and serve with the remaining sauce.




For the meat loaf sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can tomato soup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground pepper, just grind some in
1/4 cup water

Cook the onion in the oil, or you can use shortening, until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.





Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oops, it's been a few weeks between recipes! This is a recipe from my husband's childhood. These are his mom's go to chocolate chip cookies. It's been a while since I've made them, but we made them as a family a few weeks ago, and it's obvious why the recipe has been around forever. They looked pretty and they tasted great too!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Crisco (I used butter flavored)
1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
5 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

Cream together the Crisco, margarine and sugars until light and airy (about 3-4 minutes), mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add gradually to the wet ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop with a mall scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

I got the inspiration for this sandwich from Real Mom Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, she made just Pesto Chicken, which I thought sounded great, but I wanted to take it a step further and make it into an awesome sandwich. So I took some Ciabatta rolls, and Monterrey Jack cheese and the results were a sandwich that all of our family truly enjoyed, even the leftover chicken pieces were awesome. The best part is that this is so simple!

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

6 chicken tenders (you could also use 3 chicken breasts)
2/3 cup basil pesto, divided (I buy this at Costco)
3 Ciabatta rolls
3 slices Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish big enough to fit your chicken (I used an 8 x 8 inch glass dish) with baking spray and place 1/3 cup of pesto in the bottom, spread around with a rubber spatula. Place the chicken in the dish and spread the remaining pesto on the top. Bake for 30 minutes. I used frozen chicken tenders and they took about 35 minutes to bake.

Cut the Ciabatta rolls in half. Place two chicken tenders on each of your Ciabatta rolls. Top with a slice of Monterrey Jack and broil until the cheese is melted. I usually throw the tops in as well, just make sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't burn! Replace the tops and cut sandwiches in half for serving, if desired.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Orange Stick Brownies

This recipe was really fun. I started with my favorite brownie recipe and instead of having a mint layer of frosting, I made it orange with some orange extract. The result was amazing brownies, this is probably my favorite way to have these brownies yet! They were gobbled up immediately. Can't wait to make them again!

Orange Stick Brownies
adapted from Worldwide Ward Cookbook

Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix butter, cocoa and sugar. When combined, add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat between each egg. Stir in the flour. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees fro 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely. I made these the night before I wanted them, just to make sure they had the chance to cool completely before frosting them.

Orange Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon orange extract
Red and orange food coloring (use directions on the package

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, watching for a good spreadable consistency. At Cutler's we say you want it to be soft, yet your frosting knife should be held up if you put it in knife side down. Add orange extract,and the red and orange food coloring (I just used the directions on the package to get orange, but you can buy food coloring that will specifically make orange at places like Michael's and Orson Gygi.

Spread over the brownie layer. Allow to harden in the refrigerator until firm.

Chocolate Topping

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter


This is the very best part! Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and put back in for 30 second increments, stirring each time until melted and combined. Pour over frosted brownies, covering completely. Refrigerate until topping is set and hardened. Let brownies sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.